Past Fellows in the Visual Culture Program
2020–2021 – Siobhan Angus, Yale University
Siobhan Angus received her PhD in Art History and Visual Culture at York University in 2020. In her continuing research for her postdoctoral project Photography in deep-time: Materiality, resource extraction, and climate change, Angus examined photographic materiality and visual form in representations of nature and industry. During her fellowship at the Library Company she explored the industrial and environmental history of Philadelphia as an early center of photography through related historical materials about technique, artistic practice, and metals. The Library’s strong early photography holdings, including 19th-century daguerreotypes, cyanotypes, and photographic journals and manuals served as primary sources for her work rooted in environmental art history and social and environmental legacies of extraction.
2019–2020 – Rebecca Szantyr, Brown University
Rebecca Szantyr is a PhD Candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at Brown University. For her dissertation Nicolino Calyo: A Wider View of American Art, 1833-1835, Szantyr undertook an ecocritical and holistic approach to her research to re-identify Neapolitan-born artist Calyo and his panoramic and urban landscape work as American. Szantyr examined our graphic and textual collections documenting antebellum exhibition culture and depictions of race, as well as historical sources related to canals, coal, the Fairmount and Schuylkill Rivers, and the stakeholders of the Schuylkill Navigation Company, Schuylkill Coal Company, and the Reading Railroad.
2018–2019 – Julia Grummitt, Princeton University
Julia Grummitt is a PhD candidate in History at Princeton University. For her dissertation “The Great National Work: Visualizing Territory & Race in 19th Century North America,” Grummitt explores connections between U.S. Indian Policy and print illustration during the 19th century. She argues that an expanding republic of print, as represented by sources such as McKenney and Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1836-1844), corresponded with the expansion of the United States’ continental empire. Her work explores these graphics as state cultural productions through an examination of changing color technologies, the visualization of race, and the social manufacture and mobilization of images.
2017–2018 – Allison Stagg, Freie Universität Berlin
Allison Stagg is a visiting professor in American Art at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität. For her current book project Prints of a New Kind: Political Caricature in the United States, 1789-1832, Stagg examines engraved caricatures issued before the main medium for this genre of print became lithography. Her research, a long overdue rereading of caricatures of the Early Republic, explores the professional networks of early American caricaturists and the market for their works.
During her fellowship, Stagg’s work primarily focused on the artists James Akin and William Charles. She reviewed select Library Company graphics and manuscript collections for references and representations of their professional life, affiliations, and collaborations. The Library’s rare 1839 Akin watercolor The Country Club, strong holdings of late 18th- and early 19th-century political cartoons, as well as correspondence by and about early Philadelphia artists and engravers in the Rush Family Papers and McAllister Collection further informed Stagg’s understanding of the role of Early Republic caricatures in American visual culture.
2016–2017 – Kathryn Desplanque, Duke University
Kathryn Desplanque received her PhD in art history from Duke University Trinity College of Arts and Sciences in 2017. Her dissertation entitled “Art, Commerce, and Caricature: Satirical Images of Artistic Life in Paris, 1750-1850” explores late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century satirical images that target individuals, institutions, and events in Paris’ art world. Her research at the Library Company focused on scraps in the examination of the mass customization of art. She examined our visual culture collections related to ephemera, 19th-century printing processes, and history of publishing.
2015–2016 – Ellen Handy, The City College of New York
Ellen Handy is an associate professor at The City College of New York. For her current book project, Handy examines the multiple histories of photography. She seeks to author a textbook composed with a thematic as opposed to chronological narrative that repeatedly asks and answers the question – “What is photography?” Analyzing the medium from multiple points of view, Handy’s work interweaves the contextual reading of photographic images with primary sources about their history to emphasize the multiple identities, meaning, and history of the medium.
In support of her work, Handy utilized the Library Company’s extensive 19th-century collection of Philadelphia photographs, including daguerreotypes and the photographs of Robert Bird (1806-1854), Frederick DeBourg Richards (1822-1903), and James McClees (1821-1887). Handy also studied our stereograph collection related to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, personal and commercial photograph albums, and ephemera printed with photographic imagery.
2014–2015 – Dominique Zino, Fordham University
Dominique Zino is an adjunct lecturer at Fordham University. To complete her book manuscript of her dissertation, Zino is using her fellowship to further her study of the visual culture of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Zino’s work explores the documentation and marketing of the World’s Fair in terms of “picturesque time.” She seeks to further understand how readers and viewers of textual and visual accounts of the event became acclimated to the industrial progress it represented. Zino suggests that virtual and actual visitors to the fair relied on “framed glimpses” of their experiences to facilitate their comprehension and acceptance of the new media and technologies displayed and promoted.
In support of her research, Zino worked with the Library Company’s extensive collection of Centennial graphic and printed works, as well as ephemera. Zino studied the Raymond Holstein Stereograph Collection, bird’s eye view prints of the fair grounds and buildings, and souvenir and guide books, as well as newspaper accounts and manuscripts describing the exhibition to compare and contrast the visual and textual interpretations of representations of time and space at the fair.
2013–2014 – Christopher Lukasik, Purdue University
Christopher Lukasik is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue University. For his second book project The Image in the Text: Intermediality, Illustration, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Lukasik examines the explosive growth of illustration within American literary culture from 1825 to 1875. Approaching his topic through a synthesis of literary, book, and art history studies, Lukasik suggests a more equitable relationship, as opposed to a separate or subordinate one, between text and illustration in the consumption and production of illustrated literary works. He argues that logical images began to predominate over imaginary ones in response to technological, cultural, and media changes facilitating illustrations being printed “within” texts.
In support of his research, Lukasik used his fellowship to examine the Library’s extensive collection of illustrated novels, gift books, and literary annuals with specific attention to the work of popular illustrators Alexander Anderson, F.O.C. Darley, and David Claypoole Johnston. Periodical illustrations from our scrapbook collections and separately issued works by the aforementioned artists also informed Lukasik’s work analyzing the connection between reading and seeing illustrated books.
2012–2013 – Allison Lange, Brandeis University
Allison Lange is a PhD candidate in History at Brandeis University. For her dissertation, “Pictures of Change: Transformative Images of Gender and Politics in the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1776-1920,” Lange constructs a visual history of the woman’s rights movement through an examination of publically circulated graphics of women representing changing notions of womanhood, suffrage rights, and motherhood.
During her fellowship at the Library Company, Lange researched a range of visual and popular materials to deconstruct woman’s rights in relation to gender politics and to explore the content, context, and dissemination of these graphic works. Through portraiture, allegorical and satiric prints, scrapbooks and albums of commercial ephemera, genre stereographs, and political propaganda texts, Lange studied depictions of evolving gender roles, women’s fashion, the symbolic female form, and public women, such as Martha Washington and Queen Victoria. The published graphics of complementary political and social movements, including temperance and abolition, also served as primary evidence for her fellowship research.
2011–2012 – Catherine H. Walsh, University of Delaware
Catherine Walsh is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Delaware. In her dissertation, “Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Orality in Nineteenth-Century American Visual Culture,” Walsh explores the text-image relationship in how viewers saw, described, and “read” original art and popular print depictions of storytelling.
During her fellowship at the Library Company, Walsh conducted research on illustrated popular fiction in the mid-nineteenth century. Walsh surveyed illustrated newspapers, such as Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, focusing on graphics emblematic of storytelling as an activity. Walsh also examined primers, children’s literature, gift books, and multiple illustrated editions of popular fiction, to analyze the relationship between a printed story and the visual storytelling that it spawns.
2010–2011 – Sarah Kate Gillespie, York College of the City University of New York
Sarah Kate Gillespie, Assistant Professor of Art History at York College of the City University of New York used her Visual Culture Fellowship to conduct research for her current project, ‘One Thing New Under the Sun’: The Cross-Currents of Art and Science in the American Daguerreotype, 1839-50. In this book, based on her dissertation, Gillespie will consider the role of the early American daguerreotype in the development of the two poles of photography – the arts and the sciences.
During her fellowship, Gillespie studied the Library Company and Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s rich collections of daguerreotypes, particularly those of Robert Cornelius, Joseph Saxton, William Mason, Walter Rogers, and Paul Beck Goddard and several printed volumes containing engravings after daguerreotypes to examine the circulation of these early photographs.
2009–2010 – Anne Verplanck, Penn State University
Anne Verplanck, Associate Professor of American Studies and Heritage Studies at Penn State University performed research for her current book project, The Graphic Arts in Philadelphia, 1780 to 1880. The book will focus on the graphic art produced in Philadelphia and the reasons why the city sustained numerous artists, had several venues for public exhibition and art criticism, and embraced novel art forms and techniques. She made extensive use of the manuscript collections of the Library Company and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, including the Coxe, Carey, and McAllister collections to explore the cultural forces that shaped a century of artistic patronage and production in one of America’s most prosperous urban centers. Materials documenting Philadelphia’s Sanitary Fair and Centennial Exhibition, and the Moran and Richards photographs in the Library Company’s Print and Photograph Department, also formed a core of Verplanck’s research.
2008–2009 – Christopher Hunter, California Institute of Technology
Christopher Hunter, Assistant Professor of English at the California Institute of Technology, conducted research for hisdissertation entitled “A New and More Perfect Edition: American Autobiography, 1790-1850.” Dr. Hunter studies the history of the book and the book trades in colonial America and the Early Republic and has published essays on the freedom of the press and the bibliography of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. As the William H. Helfand Fellow, Hunter worked with the Library Company’s extensive collections of Frankliniana to study the images that appeared in many editions of Franklin’s Autobiography. The artists and craftsmen who illustrated Franklin’s Memoirs had an unusually rich visual trope of the life of the aged philosopher and the images they produced are crucial for a full understanding of the development of Franklin’s life story in its myriad forms, as well as for the development of the genre of autobiography more generally
2007–2008 – Dalila Scruggs, Harvard University
Dalila Scruggs, PhD. candidate in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University performed research for her dissertation “The Love of Liberty Has Brought Us Here”: The American Colonization Society and the Imaging of African-American Settlers in Liberia, West Africa” during her fellowship. Scruggs doctoral work focuses on the visual imaging practices of the American Colonization Society (ACS) and compares and contrasts how the white-run ACS and African-American settlers in Liberia used visual imagery to represent Liberian settler identity to antebellum America as a solution to the “race” problem. Scruggs utilized the manuscript, graphic, art, and book collections of the Library Company and Historical Society of Pennsylvania and examined paintings with a provenance to the Pennsylvania Colonization Society; Abolitionist newspapers, including the Colonization Herald and Pennsylvania Freeman; and visual and textual accounts of the settlement of Liberia, colonization, and abolition.